Quinlan hosts international Macromarketing Conference
By Anna Gaynor
At first blush, social justice and business might not seem compatible. Yet the 40th annual Macromarketing Conference, hosted in June by Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business, illustrated that the two can be complementary, and indeed should be.
The conference brought together nearly 200 scholars from around the globe to analyze how marketing affects economies and societies—both positively and not. The ultimate goal is to identify how the marketing industry and policy makers can help address some of the world’s worst problems.
“No one can solve a complex societal problem, whether it’s at the Water Tower Campus or whether it’s in Darfur, without looking at history, at systems, at social philosophies, at various economic models and forms of governance,” said Cliff Shultz, Professor and Kellstadt Chair of Marketing in the Quinlan School, and one of the conference’s chairs. “It’s simply not possible, and that’s why macromarketing is so important.”
His own research looks at how marketing can encourage peace and prosperity in regions affected by failed political systems and chronic warfare. In addition to spending the last 25 years working in and out of Vietnam, Shultz has spent time in Cambodia, the Balkans, Colombia, and the Middle East.
Yet, his work only touches on a part of what the macromarketing field encompasses.
“Macromarketing research should address everything that makes life worth living,” said Gene Laczniak, the president of the society, during the opening reception. “Our vocation compels us to widen the marketing system and its wellness, and to fearlessly debate it. This involves establishing things like what conditions create social justice, how can trade-offs between market efficiency and societal welfare be better proportioned.”
The four-day conference featured panels and sessions on a wide range of topics including the FIFA World Cup, poverty, fashion, education, ethics, conflict and failed states, life-quality, and sustainability.
International scholars converge on Loyola
More than half of the conference’s attendees traveled to Loyola from outside the US. Among them were Arash Kordestani and Setayesh Sattari. Originally from Iran, the pair has been researching at Swedish universities for the past several years.
The two were excited for the opportunity for some feedback on the paper they were presenting on corporate social responsibility. Even just attending the conference as an observer, however, gave them plenty of reasons to be there.
“For me, it’s first networking,” Sattari said. “The second one is to know about the trends in research and what are the areas that are most researched during the past year or the coming year. I was surprised to read the new phenomena or very new areas of research that I didn’t know of.”
Showcasing social justice at Loyola
The Loyola community had a prominent role at the conference. Several Quinlan School of Business faculty members served as session chairs and presented their own research. Loyola students and alums also presented their own work during the opening reception’s poster sessions, in addition to volunteering and attending conference discussions.
“To have the opportunity to host the Macromarketing Conference and to see the symbiotic missions play out was fun,” Shultz said. “I think it was a great value for a lot of our students who attended, our colleagues who participated, and the people from six continents who attended. It was just a meaningful event, and we were very proud to showcase that Quinlan may be the only business school that has social justice as one of its core pillars ”